**Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson**
Minister of Financial Services and Investments

Providing opening remarks at yesterday’s *USA Patriot* Act Seminar sponsored by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT), the Financial Services Minister congratulated the organisations for having provided the opportunity for the financial services industry to examine the prerequisites and obligations of the US legislation. Specifically, as such requirements impact practitioners operating in The Bahamas.

She emphasised that The Bahamas as a blue chip, well-regulated and cooperative jurisdiction joins hands with all countries in developing effective “know your customer” mechanisms. Nevertheless, it is important to benchmark *USA Patriot* Act requirements with the obligation for transparency **and** privacy of client information within Bahamian laws. She said, *”Important to our success are the mechanisms to ensure transparency while providing privacy to clients who operate within the ambit of Bahamian laws”.*

Referencing the oft stated collaborative approach of her Ministry and the Government of The Bahamas, Minister Maynard-Gibson reiterated the invitation to all concerned parties in the industry to participate as partners in the country’s national development. Reportedly, the public and private sectors have come together to formulate a strategic plan, with the latter bringing to the table its intimate knowledge of the industry and evolving trends.

Taking note of the genesis of the *USA Patriot* Act, the Minister reaffirmed the policy of The Bahamas Government to continue the fight against serious crime, including terrorism. The Bahamas signed the InterAmerican Treaty Against Terrorism in June of this year, and the Minister indicated that the Government soon would be tabling legislation to give effect to the nation’s commitments to the Treaty.